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From Pills to Plans: How Pharmacists Can Thrive as Health Coaches

In recent years, the role of pharmacists has evolved beyond simply dispensing medications. As trusted healthcare professionals, pharmacists are heavily relied upon to answer health-related questions and address non-emergency health issues. This makes the transition into health coaching a logical next step for many in the profession. In this blog post, we delve into why pharmacists are particularly well-suited to health coaching and outline the steps they can take to become successful Health Coaches.


Pharmacology vs Health Coaching: What are the Main Differences?


While pharmacy and health coaching are two distinct fields within healthcare, they share a common goal: to improve patient outcomes through effective treatment and lifestyle management. However, there is one major difference - where pharmacists provide immediate solutions to medication-related issues, Health Coaches are trained to help clients achieve their long-term health-related goals. This holistic approach empowers individuals to make proactive choices about their health, lifestyle, and wellbeing. If this aligns with your personal interests and goals, read on to find out why health coaching might be the right career option for you


Reasons Why Pharmacists are Well-Suited to Health Coaching


Education in Chronic Illness Treatment and Prevention


Although Health Coaches come from a variety of educational backgrounds—with some entering the field with no prior experience—pharmacists bring a unique set of skills and knowledge that align perfectly with the objectives of health coaching. Their deep understanding of the workings and side effects of medications, combined with how lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, and stress management impact health, makes them well-suited to a career in health coaching. 


Trained in Communication Skills


Pharmacists already have a wealth of experience interacting with patients. Most of their time is spent conveying complex medical information to individuals with no pharmaceutical knowledge. This level of expertise in communication, matched only by their ability to make patients feel at ease when discussing personal health issues, is vital in health coaching. If you, as a pharmacist, are eager to take your communication skills to another level by conversing with clients and motivating them to make beneficial lifestyle changes, health coaching might just be for you. 



Goal-Oriented Approach to Care


Health coaching and pharmacology both focus on patient/client outcomes, albeit through different approaches. Health and wellness coaching centres on long-term goals, while a pharmacist’s role involves ensuring safe and effective medication use and providing immediate solutions to medication-related issues. Both fields, however, embrace a preventive care approach, leveraging clinical experience to offer medication-related and acute care advice. If you’re interested in helping others establish and achieve long-term health goals, then you might want to consider a career in health coaching


Learning Opportunities 


Enrolling in a health and wellness course presents a valuable learning opportunity for pharmacists. Although they already undergo continuous training and stay up-to-date on health advice and medications, health coaching opens a new avenue for pharmacists to explore. Our HCA training course offers pharmacists the chance to gain practical skills and broaden their medical knowledge, which could be of great interest to many in the profession. If any of this makes you feel inspired to become a Health Coach, find out the steps you can take to enter the profession. 


An Inspiring Example of Pharmacist to Health Coaching


Meet Tracy Achieng-Ouko, a former Pharmacist who is now an inspiring HCA graduate.


Three years ago, Tracy faced several health challenges during the Covid pandemic. Initially thinking it was her asthma and despite trying different treatments, her symptoms persisted, and there was very little support available.


Tracy had to take a tough three-month break from her job as a Community Pharmacist and was eventually diagnosed with Long Covid. In 2021, She faced the loss of a close relative, which highlighted the impact of emotional stress on her wellbeing and led to her making a life-changing decision to leave her job.


Tracy felt compelled to support her own recovery and had a strong desire to help others facing similar health challenges, helping them to bridge the gap between knowing what they should do and actually doing it. Working as a Pharmacist alone no longer felt 'right'.


That's where Health Coaching came in...


It felt like Health Coaching was the missing piece of the puzzle in my career and personal health journey. If you have a genuine desire to help people, then Health Coaching is the perfect path for you."

When asked the question of how Health Coaching has influenced her life, Tracy responded with three key insights:


Firstly, it has made me a better listener, focused on understanding others rather than interrupting or sharing my own experiences. This has enhanced my relationships and allowed me to show up better for those around me.


Secondly, it has improved my ability to engage in meaningful conversations and ask questions that genuinely help others.


Lastly, it has enriched my life by enabling me to support people in achieving their health and wellness goals.


Tracy's journey is a powerful example of personal transformation that has not only empowered her to prioritise her own health, but also enhance the wellbeing of others.


How to Become a Health Coach


Training 


To legally practice as a Health Coach in the UK, you must obtain a recognised and accredited qualification. This is accessible through online courses which cover core topics such as nutrition, exercise, behaviour change psychology, coaching techniques, and client communication. Look for programmes accredited by reputable organisations like the UK & International Health Coaching Association, such as our HCA training course. Gaining practical experience through internships or volunteering can also be invaluable. Our academy offers a mix of interactive training sessions, workshops, webinars, user-friendly instructional videos, and informative presentations for you to get established as a Health Coach in the UK. 


Choosing a Niche


Choosing a niche is the next step for pharmacists venturing into health coaching. This focus allows them to apply their in-depth knowledge of medications and chronic disease management directly to their coaching. Here are some potential career pathways pharmacists might consider:


  • Medication Management Coaching:  Specialising in helping patients understand their medications, including potential side effects, and how lifestyle factors can interact with their medication regimen.

  • Chronic Disease Management: Utilising their background in chronic illnesses to assist patients in managing conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases through lifestyle changes.

  • Senior Health and Wellness: Addressing the unique needs of older adults, including medication adherence, mobility, and dietary adjustments to enhance quality of life.


Book Your Free Discover Call with us 


Begin your health and wellness journey at Health Coaches Academy, one of the UK's leading coaching institutions. Our Health Coaching Diploma, accredited by Ofqual and PCI at Level 5, offers comprehensive training through live sessions, workshops, webinars, and more. You'll engage in practical coaching from day one, with the flexibility to learn at your own pace. Book a free Discover call and have a friendly chat with the team today for more information on how to become a Health Coach in the UK.

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